Agenda and minutes

Budget Council, Council
Wednesday, 5th February, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions

Contact: John Armstrong, Democratic Services and Elections Manager 

Media

Items
No. Item

CO105

Apologies for absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Graham Eyre, Jan Harwood, Ted Mayne, Jo Randall, Will Salmon and Deborah Seabrook, and from Honorary Freeman Jen Powell and Honorary Aldermen Catherine Cobley, Sarah Creedy, Jayne Marks, and Lynda Strudwick.

 

CO106

Disclosures of interest

To receive and note any disclosable pecuniary interests from councillors. In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda.  Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must also withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.

 

If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.

 

Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest.

 

CO107

Minutes pdf icon PDF 642 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 3 December 2019, and the minutes of the extraordinary meeting held on 16 January 2020.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council confirmed, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 3 December 2019 and the extraordinary meeting held on 16 January 2020. The Mayor signed the minutes.

 

CO108

Mayor's Communications

To receive any communications or announcements from the Mayor.

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Minutes:

The Mayor reported that his final charitable event of his mayoral year would be the Mayoress’ “Sparkling Springtime Afternoon Tea”, taking place at the Guildhall on Tuesday 31 March 2020 between 3pm and 5pm.  Tickets were priced at £25, and councillors were invited to contact Kate Foxton for further details.

 

The Mayor had recently opened the impressive facilities at the medical training school at the University’s Grainger building, which included an ambulance simulator, and the Veterinary School.

 

The Mayor had also visited a symposium on tinnitus at the Royal Surrey County Hospital attended by 800 residents.

 

CO109

Leader's Communications

To receive any communications or announcements from the Leader of the Council.

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Minutes:

The Leader reported that since 31 January 2020, she had been contacted by a number of EU citizens living in the borough concerned about securing settled status in the UK and outlined the assistance that the Council was providing in this regard.

 

CO110

Public participation

To receive questions or statements from the public.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Gavin Morgan, on behalf of the Guildford Heritage Forum, addressed the Council meeting in respect of the centenary of the closure of the Chilworth Gunpowder Mills, and the need to utilise modern technology to help people engage with the past.

 

The Lead Councillor for Tourism, Leisure, and Sport, Councillor James Steel responded to Mr Morgan.

CO111

Questions from Councillors

To hear questions (if any) from councillors of which due notice has been given.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Susan Parker asked the Lead Councillor for Planning, Regeneration, and Housing Delivery, Councillor Jan Harwood, the question set out below. In the absence of the Lead Councillor, the Leader of the Council’s comments in response to each element of the question is set out in italicised text below:

 

“In July the full Council voted for a masterplan and a brownfield review to consider the scope of the urban area to accommodate housing and protect our rural areas, not least due to the impact of urban sprawl on climate change and our climate change commitments.

 

Could the Lead Councillor for Planning, Regeneration, and Housing Delivery please report on progress to date, and the implications for the Local Plan?

 

Since the Council resolved to bring forward a new Masterplan DPD the following has been undertaken:

 

(1)    David Lock Associates have been appointed and completed a study to evaluate the previously undertaken work in relation to the town centre and provide recommendations as to the next steps and the future engagement of consultants.

(2)    People and Places have been appointed and completed a consultation with 9 key Guildford stakeholder groups through an interview and feedback process to help establish that we are clear in relation to the vision for the town centre. 

(3)    Work is also underway with the Environment Agency in relation to Guildford’s Flood Alleviation Scheme.  The outcome of this scheme will influence the potential outcome of the masterplan work and may create a material change in the functional flood plain in terms of risk.

(4)    A Masterplan Briefing note will go to CMT on 18 February 2020 setting out how the Masterplan proposal will be progressed.

(5)    Budget approval for the year 2020-21is being sought at this Council meeting.

(6)    The procurement of a Masterplan consultancy is commencing.

(7)    A Masterplan Programme Board is in the process of being set up.

 

The production of a Masterplan DPD would be required to be consistent with the boroughwide policies contained within the Adopted Local Plan.  The housing site allocations in the Adopted plan outside of the specific town centre area will remain unchanged.   The Masterplan would only relate to a specifically defined geographic area identified as part of the plan making process.

 

In particular can he please comment on the following questions:

 

(a)     we have recently been informed that any proposed Mastervision for the town centre will be subject to DPD rules.  I understand this will involve a Regulation 18 then a Regulation 19 consultation, followed by an examination in public with a Planning Inspector, before any approval and ratification. I understand the current DPDs which are due to come to consultation this spring and will follow this process are likely to be approved towards the end of this administration ie in Autumn 2022 at the earliest, or possibly in Spring 2023 depending on the level of responses, ie towards the end of this current Council administration at the earliest. Could a timetable for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item CO111

CO112

Pay Policy Statement 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 227 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Under Section 39 of the Localism Act 2011, the Council was required to consider and approve a pay policy statement for the financial year ahead and publish it on its website.  The Council therefore considered the Pay Policy Statement covering 2020-21, which had set out the elements of pay and other benefits paid to staff and in particular the most senior employees. 

 

The pay award was made in Julyeach year and the Council was currently consulting with Unison on this award.  Following the redesign of the organisational structure in Phase A of the Future Guildford transformation programme, a new Head of Service salary band for the most senior management level below Directors had been introduced to provide support to the Directors to reflect the reduction in the number of director posts.

 

Councillors noted that the Council would continue to pay at the Real Living Wage for outside London, which was currently £9.30 per hour, at the bottom of the pay scale. This would aid recruitment difficulties in attracting and retaining key staff. 

 

Councillors also noted that the restructure of the Corporate Management Team had been completed as part of Phase A of Future Guildford and that the recruitment process for the appointment of a new Director of Service Delivery had commenced.  As the remuneration package that the Council was offering in respect of this appointment would exceed £100,000, the Council was invited to approve it in accordance with paragraph 12.4 of the Pay Policy Statement for 2020-21.  The elements of the remuneration package for the role of Director of Service Delivery were set out in a table on the Order Paper circulated at the meeting.

 

The Lead Councillor for Finance and Assets, Customer Service, Councillor Joss Bigmore proposed, and the Leader of the Council, Councillor Caroline Reeves, seconded the motion to adopt the Pay Policy Statement for 2020-21, approve the proposed remuneration package associated with the appointment of a Director of Service Delivery and authorise the Employment Committee to make an appropriate offer to the successful candidate.

 

During the debate and following a question as to why the Council was still providing lease cars to certain staff, bearing in mind the Council’s zero carbon emissions aspiration, the Leader of the Council explained that an offer of a car was essential in order to attract the best candidates.  However, it was noted that the Council was moving towards a fully electric lease car fleet.

 

It was also suggested that the Council should consider increasing the pay to its lowest paid staff at a rate higher than the real living wage to reflect the high cost of living in Guildford, and ensuring that the Council’s contractors pay the real living wage to their employees. The Leader indicated that the Council was very mindful of these matters

 

Having considered the motion, the Council

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)     That the Pay Policy Statement for the 2020-21 financial year, attached at Appendix 1 to the report submitted to  ...  view the full minutes text for item CO112

CO113

Capital and Investment Strategy 2020-21 to 2024-2025 pdf icon PDF 514 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report on the Council’s capital and investment strategy, including the capital programme new bids plus the requirements of the Prudential Code and the investment strategy covering treasury management investments, commercial investments, the Treasury Management Code, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Statutory Guidance.

 

The strategy was intended to give an overview of how capital expenditure, capital financing and treasury management activity contributed to the provision of services along with an overview of how associated risk was managed and the implications for future financial sustainability. 

 

In relation to the capital programme, the Council had a current underlying need to borrow for the general fund capital programme of £360 million, including bids put forward by officers, with a net cost to the Council of £47.8 million.

 

Whilst some capital receipts or revenue streams may arise as a result of investment schemes, in most cases this was currently uncertain and too early to make assumptions.  Some information had been included in the capital vision highlighting the potential income.  It was likely that there were cash-flow implications of the development schemes, where income would come in after the five-year time horizon and the expenditure would be incurred earlier in the programme.

 

All projects would be funded by general fund capital receipts, grants and contributions, reserves and finally borrowing.  It was not currently known how each scheme would be funded and, in the case of development projects, what the delivery model would be.  To ensure the Council demonstrated that its capital expenditure plans were affordable, sustainable and prudent, Prudential Indicators had been set that must be monitored each year.  These were set out in Appendix 1 to the report submitted to the Council.

 

The capital programme included several significant regeneration schemes, on the assumption that they would be financed from General Fund resources.  However, subject to detailed design of the schemes, there could be scope to fund them from HRA resources rather than General Fund resources in due course.  Detailed funding proposals for each scheme would be considered when the Outline Business Case for each scheme was presented to the Executive for approval.

 

Details of the main areas of expenditure in the capital programme were set out in the report.

 

The report included a summary of the new bids submitted, the position and profiling of the current capital programme (2019-20 to 2023-24) and the capital vision schemes.

 

The Corporate Management Team, the Lead Councillor for Finance and Assets, Customer Service, the Joint Executive Advisory Board Budget Task Group, the Joint EAB, and the Executive had all reviewed the bids presented in the report.

 

The report had also included the Council’s Minimum Revenue Provision policy and the Prudential Indicators. 

 

In relation to Treasury management, the Council noted that officers carried out the treasury management function within the parameters set by the Council each year and in accordance with the approved treasury management practices.

 

The budget for investment income in 2020-21 was £1.684 million, based on an average investment  ...  view the full minutes text for item CO113

CO114

Housing Revenue Account Budget 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 301 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a detailed report on the draft Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget and Housing Capital Investment Programme for 2020-21.

 

The 2020-21 estimates had been predicated on the assumptions, ambitions and priorities contained in the HRA business plan.

 

The report had proposed to increase Council house rents by 2.7% in line with the Rent Standard 2020 (issued by the Regulator of Social Housing) and the Policy Statement for Rents on Social Housing (Issued by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government).

 

A 2.7% increase in garage rents was also proposed from April 2020, based on the September 2019 Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 1%.

 

The report, which included details of progress with the new build programme, together with the proposed investment programme in tenants’ homes, had also been considered by the Joint Executive Advisory Board at its meeting on 9 January 2020.  The Board had indicated its agreement with the recommendations both to the Executive and Council.

 

At its meeting held on 21 January 2020, the Executive had, subject to Council approving the budget at this meeting, approved the projects forming the HRA major repair and improvement programme, as set out in Appendix 3 to the report and had authorised the Director of Service Delivery to reallocate funding between approved schemes to make best use of the available resources, and to set rents for new developments.

 

Upon the motion of the Lead Councillor for Housing, Access and Disability, Homelessness, Councillor Angela Goodwin, seconded by the Lead Councillor for Finance and Assets, Customer Service, Councillor Joss Bigmore, the Council

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)    That the HRA revenue budget 2020-21, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report submitted to the Council, be approved.

 

(2)    That the 2.7% rent increase in line with the Rent Standard 2020 and Policy Statement 2019 be approved for 2020-21.

 

(3)    That the fees and charges for HRA services for 2020-21, as set out in Appendix 2 to the report, be approved.

 

(4)    That a 2.7% increase in garage rents for 2020-21 be approved.

 

(5)    That the Housing Investment Programme as set out in Appendix 4 to the report (current approved and provisional schemes), as amended to include the bids approved by the Executive at its meeting on 21 January 2020, be approved.

 

Reason:

To enable the Council to set the rent charges for HRA property and associated fees and charges, along with authorising the necessary revenue and capital expenditure to implement a budget, this is consistent with the objectives outlined in the HRA Business Plan.

 

CO115

Business Planning - General Fund Budget 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 321 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a detailed report on the draft General Fund Revenue budget for 2020-21, which included a Council Tax requirement of £10,192,858 (excluding parish precepts) and a Council Tax increase of £5 per year (3%), resulting in a Band D charge of £176.82. 

 

The provisional Local Government Finance Settlement (LGFS) for 2020-21 had been received on 20 December 2019.  The figures included in the outline budget presented to the Executive on 26 November 2019 reflected the information contained in the settlement. 

 

The Settlement Funding Assessment comprising the local share of business rates, and revenue support grant, was set out in the provisional LGFS.  The settlement had been in line with expectations which enabled the Council to retain £2.929 million of business rates in 2020-21, an increase of 1.69% on 2019-20. 

 

In determining that the Council’s Core Spending Power had increased by £400,000, the Government had assumed that the Council would raise the Council Tax by the maximum amount (£5 or 3% whichever was the higher).   

 

The provisional award of New Homes Bonus (NHB) for 2020-21 totalling £851,019, was lower than the £1,066,849 included in the outline budget reported to the Executive in November.  Although 482 new homes had been added to the Council Tax base in 2019-20, which represented a 0.71% increase in tax base, the deadweight for qualifying NHB had been set at 0.4%, which was the minimum expectation Government had for the development of new housing.

 

The Joint EAB Budget Task Group and Joint Executive Advisory Board had considered the outline budget at their meetings on 8 and 20 November 2019 respectively. 

 

The Chief Finance Officer (CFO) presented her statutory report to the Council, a copy of which was appended to the main report. The CFO’s report provided information about the strategic context within which the budget had been prepared, the medium term financial plan, the robustness of the estimates, adequacy of reserves and budget risks. 

 

The financial monitoring report for the first eight months of 2019-20 had been reported to the Corporate Governance and Standards Committee on 15 January 2020.  The projected net expenditure on the General Fund for the current financial year had been estimated to be £96,766 less than the original estimate.  

 

The CFO, in consultation with the Lead Councillor for Finance and Assets, Customer Service and the Leader of the Council would determine the appropriation of the final balance in June 2020.  Any ongoing variances between actual expenditure and budget identified in 2019-20 had been taken into account when preparing the budget for 2020-21.

 

Appendix 3 to the report provided a list of fees and charges for approval as part of the budget.  The Executive had agreed the target increase given to service managers on 26 November 2019, subject to market constraints.

 

At its meeting held on 21 January 2020, the Executive had considered this report and had endorsed the recommendations therein and approved the transfer to reserves of the sums included in the proposed budget at Appendix 2 to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item CO115

CO116

Selection of Deputy Mayor: 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors were reminded that, at its meeting on 3 December 2019, the Council had formally nominated the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Marsha Moseley for the Mayoralty for the municipal year 2020-21.

 

As no nominations in respect of the appointment of the Deputy Mayor for the municipal year 2020-21 had been received, the Council had deferred consideration of the matter to this meeting. 

 

The Council noted that, since the December meeting, Councillor Dennis Booth had been nominated for consideration in respect of the appointment. Councillor Booth left the meeting during the Council’s consideration of this matter.

 

Upon the motion of the Lead Councillor for Finance and Assets, Customer Service, Councillor Joss Bigmore seconded by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Marsha Moseley, the Council

 

RESOLVED: That Councillor Dennis Booth be nominated for the Deputy Mayoralty of the Borough for the 2020-21 municipal year.

 

Reason:

To make early preparations for the selection of the Deputy Mayor for the 2020-21 municipal year.

 

CO117

Minutes of the Executive pdf icon PDF 381 KB

To receive and note the attached minutes of the meetings of the Executive held on 22 October and 26 November 2019.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received and noted the minutes of the meetings of the Executive held on 22 October and 26 November 2019. 

 

CO118

Common seal

To order the Common Seal to be affixed to any document to give effect to any decision taken by the Council at this meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council

 

RESOLVED: That the Common Seal of the Council be affixed to any documents to give effect to any decisions taken by the Council at this meeting.